Religious Vegetarianism: From Hesiod to the Dalai Lama

Religious Vegetarianism: From Hesiod to the Dalai Lama

by Kerry S. Walters
     
 

An anthology of writings on vegetarianism from a wide range of religious traditions.

Stretching back more than two thousand years and spanning diverse traditions, religious vegetarianism has an ancient and rich history. In this book, Kerry S. Walters and Lisa Portmess gather writings that reflect devotional as well as more analytical responses to age-old

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Overview

An anthology of writings on vegetarianism from a wide range of religious traditions.

Stretching back more than two thousand years and spanning diverse traditions, religious vegetarianism has an ancient and rich history. In this book, Kerry S. Walters and Lisa Portmess gather writings that reflect devotional as well as more analytical responses to age-old questions of animal suffering, dietary practice, and human responsibility. These include writings from ancient Orphic and Pythagorean authors, writings that span centuries of Indian and Buddhist thought, and writings from the Judaic, Christian, and Islamic traditions. Interesting both to those well-versed in the literature of vegetarianism as well as to others encountering it for the first time, are tensions within traditions over the use of animals for food—whether such use is consonant with fundamental values of the faith, whether religious law or tradition requires vegetarian practice, and what place animals are thought to hold in the order of nature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An anthology of the caliber of Religious Vegetarianism makes a wonderful case for the ability of scholars today to be able to go into the oldest, most established traditions or codified entities and expose the unexpectedly radical ideas that are embedded there.” — Worldviews

“This wonderful book provides the cornerstone, the religious basis for a diet rich in compassion and a credit to faith.” — Ingrid Newkirk, President, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

“Religious Vegetarianism is a stimulating collection of diverse and often out-of-the-way texts. The contrast between Eastern and Western religious texts on vegetarianism should prove to be especially thought-provoking for adherents of Western religions.” — Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation

Library Journal
Although Unitarian minister Kowalski is both vegetarian and antivivisectionist, his newest book is not about deriving support for these ethical teachings from Judeo-Christian scripture. Rather, this is a series of personal meditations on some of the more prominent events in the Hebrew Bible, considering how they relate to our treatment of animals. In the first chapter, Kowalski meditates on the creation narratives of Genesis and touches on our stewardship of the earth. He points out how like us the animals are, as they sing and dance and love as we do. Kowalski continues with chapters on the story of Noah's Ark, the near-sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, the suffering of Job and his restoration, and, finally, the story of Jonah. Occasionally saccharine and often idiosyncratic in scriptural interpretation, these meditations are nonetheless always intelligent and frequently moving. Recommended especially for public libraries for its appeal to both students and casual readers. Religious Vegetarianism, on the other hand, is entirely about the justification of vegetarianism through the doctrines of several major religious traditions. Religious historian Walters (Benjamin Franklin and His Gods, LJ 1/90) and Portmess (philosophy, Gettysburg Coll.) divide the book into sections on the Orphic-Pythagorean tradition, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Each section contains a brief introduction and several sample writings. This structure necessarily renders the book uneven in style, and it is best used by beginning scholars as a basic sourcebook. For academic libraries and public libraries with substantial collections in religion or ethics. James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
This collection of primary writings from the Orphic-Pythagorean, Indian, Buddhist, Judaic, Christian, and Islamic traditions, features short and easily digestible offerings by thinkers such as Hesiod, Porphyry, Swami Vivekanada, Mohandas Gandhi, Chu-Hung, Asoka, Joseph Rosenfeld, Roberta Kalechofsky, Tom Regan, Carol J. Adams, Rumi, and Al-Hafiz B.A. Masri. One of the more uncommon ideas comes from the Dalai Lama: "If your body needs meat, it may be better to eat bigger animals," the logic being that in the case of small animals, "many lives must be sacrificed." Includes an annotated bibliography of recommended readings. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791449714
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
06/28/2001
Pages:
215
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Kerry S. Walters is Professor of Philosophy and Lisa Portmess is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Gettysburg College. They are coeditors of the companion volume Ethical Vegetarianism: From Pythagoras to Peter Singer, also published by SUNY Press.

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